I have loved Anna Sui since I was a kid in the ‘80s. At the time, there were no other Asians in fashion for me to look up to; naturally, I copied her signature bold red lipstick and her thick swipe of black eyeliner (still do!). This woman hasn’t stopped encouraging individuality and celebrity uniqueness since back then. At her Spring ’15 show, she told me with some wistfulness that everything is the same these days, with the same stores in every mall featuring the same clothes and the same styling mirroring. To depart from the norm, Anna wanted to create a fantasy this season.
So she took us away on a groovy, intergalactic, rockabilly, retro-fabulous space odyssey. My verdict? Anna can play spaceship captain anytime! Trippy floral prints, elements of shine courtesy of textural metallic finishes and glossy velvet, and crochet and fringe galore plus babydoll dresses, chunky star and moon pendants, very un-businesslike shorts suits, and plenty of kimono-inspired layers perfect for capturing a breeze (perhaps while you dance in a meadow under the midnight moon): when Anna unites quintessential, almost cliché Woodstock style with a spot-on ‘90s attitude, it feels as natural as her models’ unfussy, center-parted long hair.
What happens when you mix the pasties-wearing pop star who can’t stop and the designer who’s brought fast food to high fashion? With Miley Cyrus in the mix at Jeremy Scott’s Spring ’15 show (they collaborated on an accessories and art collection aptly titled “Dirty Hippy”), the moods – and the looks – were as hyperactive, Day Glo-colorful, ‘90s-nostalgic, and happily childlike as you would expect. Thanks to a palette heavy on lime green, hot orange, and artificially sweetened pink, club-kid Jeremy’s runway turned into an explosion of unisex ponchos, floral Doc Martens, stripes stolen right out of your old Delia’s catalog, patchwork babydoll dresses, and even blatant Shrek references (yes, as in the charming green ogre).
Think Burning Man, think Dazed and Confused on psychedelics, think acid and ecstasy (not the “molly” of our current era), think kids gone crazy and teenagers running amok. If anyone can get away with shaggy skirts of faux fur, trinket-covered party hats, marble-print bike shorts, and a T-shirt that spells “Don’t Take Drugs” with all the irony an oversized tee can muster, it’s Jeremy Scott. Yes, everyone and their mother is referencing the 1990s this season. But at least when Scott does it, it makes you laugh. Will it make your mother laugh, though? Probably not so much.
You can always expect worlds to collide when the Mulleavy sisters put their mega-creative heads together. What you don’t expect is them to send wearable stuff that subscribes to current trends down their runways, which is exactly what they did this go-round. That’s not to say their aesthetic still doesn’t have lots of quirkiness and individuality; in the way Scott’s collection references the era of the moment, this collection just looks more “same” (to use Anna Sui’s word of choice) than usual.
But who doesn’t love a street-tough mermaid who’s been washed ashore? Don’t worry, there were swashbuckling pirate chicks to complement them, for a runway that was split between the tomboys and the femmes. Inspired by the tide pools in Monterey they used to visit as children, Kate and Laura presented collage-like dresses with ripped-to-shreds chiffon and bits of lace adorned with charms designed in collaboration with Swarovski (including custom Rodarte bottle caps and soda-can pull-tabs!), along with open-lace thigh-high boots, sleek skinny pants, saucily ruffled blouses, and military jackets topped with fishnet overlays. The aquatic-themed set emulated the glimmering Pacific Ocean with the help of 308 pounds of crystal, brought in and styled in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Swarovski Collective. With islands of glass and sea-tone stones in the background, the overall effect of the collection was dreamy and surreal yet also oddly accessible. While the dresses aren’t unlike top-notch art projects, the rest of the stuff is shockingly wearable.